Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Call or fold?

I played an afternoon session at Mandalay Bay yesterday with two friends. This hand occurred after they had both left. I'll describe all I can about it and let you decide what you would do.

I had bought in for $300, and at the beginning of this hand I had about $330 in front of me. I was in the small blind with Kh-8h. Nobody raised, so I added the extra dollar. I think there were five of us to the flop.

Flop: 887 with two diamonds. I led out for $8. Big blind folded. Guy two seats to my left min-raised to $16. It folded back around to me. I added another $25 on top of that. Within about two seconds, my opponent declared himself all in. It would be another $220 to call.

I can't tell you much about this guy. Young Asian, but he had not been at the table long, and he had played almost no hands. He had bought in for the max, $300. I had not heard a word from him. I had not seen him play a pot bigger than maybe $25. I was in the 4 seat, he in the 6 seat, so he was maximally difficult for me to see, and he was so far outside of my scope (because of both playing few hands and being nearly impossible to lay eyes on) that I had nearly forgotten he was there. I had effectively zero read on his personality or playing style. However, he had been there long enough that the fact that he had played few hands and no big pots was significant. He was no LAGtard, that's for sure. After his shove, he sat quietly, seeming comfortable--not the classic frozen, unbreathing posture of a big bluff. I couldn't make anything of his body language toward either a call or a fold.

This was by no means an instacall, as I saw it. I didn't want to blithely stumble into 7-7 or 8-7 and be drawing razor thin. But I couldn't put him on a hand that made sense.

If he had flopped a boat, I thought he'd be more likely to try to draw me in with a smooth call or another smallish raise, not suddenly overbet the pot by a factor of four. He couldn't be worried about a flush draw or straight draw; in fact, he'd be more likely to want me to hit anything I was drawing to. (That line of thinking is limited, though, by the fact that he would never have seen me bet and reraise with just a draw.) On the other hand, of course, it could be that he thought I would reason exactly that way and be more likely to call a fishy-looking overbet than something smaller. Or maybe he concluded with my reraise that I liked my hand enough that I'd come along no matter what, so he might as well go for the gusto.

Would he play a naked flush draw--or even straight draw--this way, trying to chase out either somebody else on a draw or somebody with an 8 but a weak kicker? Maybe, but that would be awfully risky, and he didn't strike me as that whimsical.

What about a 7 with either the 6 or 9 of diamonds, for two pair plus backdoor straight and flush draws? Possible, but not very likely, I thought.

What about a straight-flush draw, with 5d-6d, 6d-9d, or 9d-10d? That was a real possibility. However, I doubted that he would have limped UTG with the 6-9, and putting him on just one of two specific card combinations seemed overly narrow. Couldn't rule it out, though.

Basically, it seemed to me, my bet and reraise practically screamed that I had an 8. Whatever I was going to conclude about his hand, it had to be with the assumption that he was expecting to see an 8 in my hand.

That, in turn, meant that he either felt confident he could beat it (having flopped the boat or holding A-8), or he was afraid of it, and trying overly hard to get me to fold. As those internet kids say these days, he had a polarized range. I was either way ahead or way behind; there was only a slim possibility of having the same hand, or him having the straight-flush draw, which would make him a small underdog.

Given his relative tightness, I thought I could reduce the range of his kicker, if he did, in fact, have an 8. He had limped under the gun, and I thought he would likely do that only with A-8, 9-8, 7-8, and maybe K-8. I couldn't imagine him playing 8-5 or lower, even suited, that way. But if he had the connectors (likely suited), wouldn't he have to think longer and harder about whether he wanted to commit that much money when he couldn't know whether my kicker was bigger or smaller? After all, I had been in the small blind, and could therefore have any two cards. (I don't think I had folded a single small blind to limpers that entire session. Of course, he may or may not have noticed that fact.)

If I were right about how his position narrowed his range, then I could well be up against A-8, which would be just as much a disaster as running into a full house. But, again, I was stuck on the strange overbet. I certainly wouldn't play either A-8 or the flopped boat that way. Would he? I just didn't know.

Think about it. Decide what you would do. Leave a comment about your decision and your reasoning, if you like. I'll post the end of the story in about 24 hours.


Anonymous said...

I would have called. Then again, I lose money when I play holdem online.

After reading your post, my guess for his hand is a semi-bluff with the straight-flush draw, i.e. 9dTd. He's at least a 35% chance against anything that isn't the boat (43% against K8), he isn't clobbering anything in your range, and he's much better off getting the money in on the flop before either a brick or a scare card.

That assumes the reason he isn't afraid you have a full house is that he has a good read, and not that he has a full house already.

Mark T said...

Perhaps I'm just too much of a conservative fussbudget, but I would fold.

I lose the $25 but move on, with my extra $220 safely behind me. Bizarre super-overbets like that are seemingly about 33/33/33 (nuts vs draw vs I've got him beat) in my limited experience with them, and I don't feel like flipping for a massive amount of money when I can just wait for a better spot in a few hands.

(I note that 33% way ahead, 33% way behind, 33% drawing for a rough flip = an overall flip)

Anonymous said...

At my casino, I snap call. I'm about 2000 miles NW of Vegas and this line is +EV here ( more gamboolers and fewer poker players here).

Kirk Thompson said...

I ran it out in an equity calculator, and if the villain is:

1) always fastplaying 10+ outers and
2) shoving all of the likely hands you mention (78s,89s,77,A8s,56s,9Ts,J9s)

you have a decently +EV call.

~135 BB effectve, I pass on this spot, because I think both parameters are fairly optimistic.

It's certainly possible that you are being semibluffed. But once you bet-3bet, your hand range is very, very strong. When the villain shoves, his fold equity vs. your range is relatively minimal*.

To think about it another way, how often does the villain have to be "out of line" for this spot to be a profitable call? He's all but said he's got a hand that either beats most 8s or draws at 9+ cards to beat them. AND he raised instead of calling twice on one street when he was getting pretty good odds.

*Your range is pretty narrow here. Are you bet-3betting 8T or 8J?

Grange95 said...

I think you're beat. His action really says that he has at a minimum the case 8. About all you're ahead of is T8, 98, or a draw, but all the draws are likely to be combo draws (trips plus straight draw, straight & flush draws), so you're dodging a lot of outs. I think this is a reluctant fold; if he's bluffing, so be it, good hand villain. There's always a better place to get it in bad.

The Poker Meister said...

Fold. This guy is an eager beaver who realizes that you flopped a trips and "aren't getting away from it." I call is not altogether terrible - you can't be drawing dead (don't have a poker calculator at hand right now), but I figure you have at least 20-25% equity here due to a running paired board or pairing your King. However, I feel very much as though he shows up with a flopped boat and less likely (as played) A8.

It comes down to this: You have $41 invested in the pot, and no idea where you are... not to mention that this is a limped pot. Do you really want to go to the rail on a limped pot?

gadzooks64 said...

Dang, what a tough decision.

Pretty sure I would get all my chips in there but very hard to say. I am by nature a nit so I could probably find a fold but it would be a painful one.

For some reason part of me wants to put him on a limped big pair like all those internet phenoms like to do hoping for a raise but not getting one. Just my 2 cents.

bogeyeliot said...

I believe he's on a semi-bluff trying to get you to fold...that bet is just too big for me to believe him...if he has the boat, he's got to feel pretty invincible, so why wouldn't he milk you rather than risk a fold if he had the boat?

Todd said...

I tend to agree with call, especially if you feel that losing a buyin will not adversely affect your day (I believe this to be true).

Against the range of {77, AdKd, AdQd, AsQs, AdJd, AdTd, Ad9d, Ah9h, A8s, Ad6d, Ad5d, K8s, Q8s, JdTd, JsTs, Jd9d, Js9s, J8s, Td9d, Ts9s, T8s, 98s, A8o, K8o, T8o, 98o } - heavy on big draws and including some connectors that you can see limped UTG - you're 62.3% and need to be ~44% to call.

Looking at his line, I'd actually expect to see T9 of diamonds the most out of any hand. He minraised with two more people behind, suggesting that his initial intent is to probably just isolate you and take the lead in position.

Even if you give him a really narrow range (77, AK/AQ/JT/T9/65 d, A8, T8s, 98s, 87s) you're at 43.1%, which is nearly the 44% equity you need to correctly call.

Interesting spot though, and why I hate no limit some days.

carl said...

Look at it another way. What hands is he expecting you to call with?

This is a hard bet to call without either an OESFD or boat+, or maybe A8.

It looks (to me) like he doesn't want a call, and probably has a good but not great hand that he thinks is currently ahead, but wants to avoid being sucked out on. Bare trips fits. (And I've seen enough people open limp J8s UTG that it doesn't phase me anymore).

Or a draw, and he is semibluffing.

I've seen this line for value online, but not live (at 1/2).

YMMV, but I pull the first half of Gus Hansen's advice in the PH/durrr video. Order a scotch, drink it quickly, but then I'd call.

Freight Train said...

Not reading any other comments - I would put him on A-8 or 7s, judging from your interpretive post. I think you're behind.
But what would I do? I would call. For me, there are too many spots where he just has an 8 and is trying to force you out.

SirFWALGMan said...

I think I fold because I have no information on the player. Why stack off early. If I had seen a lot more hands and saw him shove or slow play AA or shove flush draws then I call.. I really want to have a read on a player before I stack off like that. Like you said it is probably obvious that you have an 8.. without knowing more about him I do not know if he would shove a Q8 or a flush draw.

Anonymous said...

-The min-raise/shove looks like he tried to bait you with a big hand and was happy when you 3bet
- he looked comfortable***!
- you defined your hand and you know you defined your hand and he knows you defined your hand. At this level, he's not getting fancy, he's just hoping that you can't fold an 8 before a cooler flush card comes.
- He hasn't been out of line.

I'd put most of his range:

AA KK 77 A8 J8 T8 98 87

Its boggling when someone shoves AA here. You're probably
+EV even against this smaller range. (havent run it)

But I think i still fold, and cringe when he shows aces. DonK!

James said...

I fold, given K8 only beats bluffs, unless I'm on tilt :).

The min raise is pretty suspicious from a tight player, it screams either "I have the nuts and want more money" or "I play tight, don't just cbet my flops".
If he'd raised pre-flop I might also suspect a good pocket pair.

You making it ~1.5x then clearly says, I have a good hand.

Villian then shoving for ~6x that screams "I have 87, or maybe 77. And given I look way too strong already and won't know what to do if anything 9+ hits this seems like my best option."
A8 is possible, but I'm not sure I want to call with that.

With all the hands you want villian to have, I'd expect him to call your raise.

And I expect K8 to be near the bottom of your range here (esp. ones considering a call).

Also, much like JT, I'm very wary of anything that hits 78 (esp. from pre-flop limpers).

Sure, it's possible the other guy knows all that and is thus. pushing with 56d or 9Td ... but meh.

Anonymous said...

I'm leaning toward folding here. Young Asian guy who has not been out of line yet puts $2 in preflop and is now willing to 4bet shove 220 into the flop.

P.S. If you would have said old Asian guy I would try to play more then just table stakes...

Michael said...

I don't see how you can lay down top trips with second kicker unless you really know your opponent, which you don't.

You're behind to exactly three hands. A-8, 8-7, and 7-7. all of which he could have limped in pre flop with.

But he also could have limped in with any overpair and not raised pre flop. he probably didn't limp pre with A-A or K-K, probably not with Q-Q but many 1/2 and 1/3 players will still limp <= J-J pre flop because they're afraid to play post once an over hits.

So, he could have A-8, 7-8, 7-7, J-J, 10-10, or 9-9 for made hands and any combination of draws.

Would he really four bet shove with 7-7 or 7-8? Heck no. he'd want your draw to hit so throw those out. He most likely wouldn't four bet shove with A-8 of diamonds either as he'd probably want the flush to come although he may be a little scared of the full house beating him if he did make his flush.

would he semi-bluff four bet shove with any flush draw or straight draw? very likely. he could be putting you on an over pair or even an 8 and he wants you gone but if you do call he knows he has outs to catch up.

at the low limit games, people usually don't fast play their monsters. they also aren't usually thinking players. you know nothing about him so you can either assume he's better than you and is capable of higher level thinking or that he's just a normal player who would slow play a monster and semi bluff with a draw.

I'd call and hope for black cards.